Week ahead

Supreme Court Image copyright European Photopress Agency
Image caption The Supreme Court judgement on Article 50 is imminent...

With rising chatter anticipating the publication of the Supreme Court ruling on whether Parliament has to vote on the triggering of Brexit, via the now-famous Article 50, next week's biggest parliamentary event will probably be the ensuing ministerial statement giving the government response.

And parliamentary follow-up can also be expected after it was confirmed that Theresa May will make her long-awaited major speech on Brexit on Tuesday, which might offer some glimpses of the government's negotiating aims.

Elsewhere, after a government defeat and a tied vote this week, it looks like a quiet week in the Lords (unless Article 50 fallout intrudes).

Peers look unlikely to push back at the government after MPs rejected changes they had made to the Policing and Crime Bill. There are plenty of amendments down for the committee stage of the Higher Education and Research Bill - but despite the continuing chuntering around this measure, there seems little enthusiasm to push any of them to a vote.

Watch out to see if Labour moves fast to move the writ for a snap by election in Tristram Hunt's Stoke on Trent Central (Jamie Reed in Copeland has yet to actually resign, and may not quit till the end of the month... although campaigning is already under way in his seat, and MPs from various parties have already been up to show the flag).

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Week ahead

House of commons

They're back and with Brexit looming, it may not be long before the ramifications of leaving the EU begins to crowd out almost all other issues from the agenda in both Lords and Commons.

But not quite yet - with their lordships, in particular, cranking up for a considerable clash over the Higher Education Bill. And watch out for a Commons-Lords clash on peers' call for an independent inquiry into the way the police complaints system dealt with allegations of corrupt relationships between the police and newspapers... a modest appetiser, with a government decision looming on press regulation.

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Twelve parliamentarians to shape Westminster in 2017

Who are the 12 parliamentarians who will shape Westminster this year?

As 2017 gets underway, here's a rundown of the MPs and peers who are going to be making the political weather in the coming 12 months.

1. Lindsay Hoyle

Image copyright PA

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Brexit: How rebel MPs outfoxed Cameron to get an EU referendum

David Cameron's Bloomberg speech Image copyright PA

The Leave campaign's victory in the EU referendum made headlines around the world, but how did it all come about?

When the time comes to erect heroic bronze statues to heroes of Brexit, I have a couple of left-field nominations: Tony Wright and John Bercow.

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Week ahead

Image caption The prime minister will be appearing before the Liaison Committee on Tuesday, before the Commons rises for the Christmas recess.

Three Parliamentary days remain in 2016 - but there will be some important moments before honourable members and noble lords begin their Christmas break - notably Theresa May's debut before the Commons Liaison Committee. And there's also a farewell to a long-serving minister in the Lords.


In the Commons (2.30pm) it's Education questions, and as usual any post weekend urgent questions or ministerial statements will be dealt with at 3.30pm, including Theresa May's reporting back from the European Council summit in Brussels.

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Week ahead

Lechworth Garden City Image copyright Garden City Collection

It's telling how concerned lots of MPs are about lots of different aspects of the planning system.

The accumulating amendments and new clauses that assorted MPs want to attach to the Neighbourhood Planning Bill this week reflect issues many of them are clearly tripping over, around the working of the (relatively) new-look planning process, and the kind of developments that are getting through it, so that the bill provides what looks like the most contested action in the Commons this week.

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What next if the government loses its Brexit appeal?

EU flag in front of Big Ben Image copyright PA

What if, as expected, the government loses its Brexit appeal in the Supreme Court?

The High Court ruling that ministers could not start the process of Britain's exit from the EU without a vote by Parliament was made by the most senior judges in England and Wales, the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls, so there is little expectation that the appeal to the Supreme Court will reverse it.

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Week ahead

New Lib Dem MP Sarah Olney Image copyright Getty Images

A bolt of lightning has just passed through what was becoming a "Zombie Parliament".

Just as MPs were contemplating long weeks of uncontroversial legislation, one line whips and general debates, not just until the Christmas break, but well into 2017, the voters of Richmond Park have reminded them that, in 2016, it's never quiet in politics for very long.

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Wily MP plays first Article 50 card

Conservative MP Peter Bone Image copyright PA

In the blink of a Commons eye - it took just 21 seconds on Wednesday - the Conservative MP Peter Bone introduced a private member's bill aimed at cutting through the constitutional imbroglio over the triggering of the process to leave the EU.

His Withdrawal from the European Union (Article 50) Bill would require the government to start the formal process by 31 March 2017. The small snag is that it doesn't have a prayer of getting a second reading debate - so why is the wily Mr Bone, a veteran of the private members' bill process, as well as a key anti-EU agitator on the Tory backbenches, bothering?

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Week ahead

Screen viruses list at the LHS (High Security Laboratory) of the INRIA (National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation) in Rennes Image copyright AFP/getty
Image caption The Digital Economy Bill faces report stage in the Commons on Monday.

There's some important law-making afoot in both houses this week, on issues from blocking porn sites to whether special constables can use CS gas - and there could be another attempt by peers to summon the second stage of the Leveson Inquiry into the press, on relations between journalists and the police, back from the limbo to which is has been consigned by an unenthusiastic government.

Elsewhere there's some significant action on the committee corridor, with quite a collection of Cabinet ministers appearing before various committees.

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